Occupational health and safety
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991, the Treasury must provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all its employees, contractors and visitors to the workplace. The Treasury takes this commitment seriously, and strongly emphasises prevention, early intervention and education. The Treasury actively encourages staff to contribute to a safer and happier workplace by reporting potential hazards, incidents and accidents as soon as they occur, being sensible about their actions in the workplace and demonstrating Treasury People Values at all times.
Results from the Treasury’s 2009 Staff Opinion Survey confirm that 85 per cent of staff are satisfied that Treasury is a safe and healthy workplace.
The Treasury continues to explore and implement strategies to help minimise the human and financial costs of injury and illness. Policies and strategies introduced in 2009-10 include:
- The Treasury’s Injury Management and Workers Compensation Policy and Guide: to provide comprehensive and practical guidance to both managers and injured/ill employees on support and available assistance, early intervention, rehabilitation, the compensation process and the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved;
- The Treasury’s Early Intervention Policy: to broaden the scope of assistance and support offered to minimise the negative effects of an injury or illness on both the individual and the department by early and appropriate management. The policy offers assistance to staff who sustain an injury or illness that affects their capacity at work, with scope, where appropriate, to reimburse costs of related medical treatment and associated leave;
- Hazard and Risk Assessment Policy: to identify hazards, assess the risks associated with those hazards, determine the appropriate control measures and set priorities for monitoring and evaluating controls; and
- Business Continuity People Plan: to outline the actions required to prevent and/or minimise the impact an emergency situation or event may have on the health, safety and wellbeing of employees.
As a signatory to Comcare’s Employer Statement of Commitment, the Treasury continues to observe the Occupational Health and Safety and Rehabilitation Performance Improvement Targets (2002-12) and maintains its low rate of workplace injury by monitoring and evaluating performance. The Treasury’s Comcare premium rate for 2009-10 was 0.65 per cent and remained lower than the Commonwealth average of 1.25 per cent for the same period.
Comcare recently conducted an investigation of the Treasury’s Health and Safety Management Arrangements 200911 and concluded the Treasury has demonstrated a commitment to consultation and adequate processes are in place to review and vary the arrangements and resolve Occupational Health and Safety disputes. Ongoing risk management arrangements within the Treasury’s Health and Safety Management Arrangements include the following.
- Occupational Health and Safety presentations at new staff inductions demonstrate correct ergonomic workstation setup and provide information relating to first aid, emergency procedures, accident/incident reporting, the Treasury’s Health and Wellbeing Program, lunchtime health activities, eyesight testing, the Employee Assistance Program and the role of the Health and Safety Committee and Health and Safety Representatives.
- Quarterly meetings with Health and Safety Committee members and Health and Safety Representatives assist in developing, monitoring and reviewing health and safety measures and facilitating cooperation amongst employees.
- Health and Safety Representatives conduct quarterly workplace inspections which assist in rectifying both workplace and psychosocial hazards inspections, and help ensure no notices are given under sections 29, 46 and 47 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 .
- Timely reporting of workrelated incidents ensures immediate action is taken to rectify hazards. During 2009-10, the Treasury received 25 workrelated incident reports; most related to trips, falls and body stressing. Of the 25 incidents, four compensation claims were submitted, three were accepted and one is yet to be determined. No incidents were reported to Comcare under section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
- Managers are encouraged to report absence which may be related to physical or psychological injury or illness, so appropriate action can be put in place as soon as possible. Leave data is analysed fortnightly to enable early intervention of potentially nonreported issues.
- First aid officers are conveniently located throughout the department. Employees with underlying health conditions such as epilepsy, asthma and diabetes are encouraged to advise nearby first aid officers to ensure timely assistance is provided.
- The Treasury offers individual workstation assessments and training on ergonomics and workstation adjustment, stretching and taking breaks. A total of 237 individual workstation assessments were conducted in 2009-10. Workstation setup training is offered as part of the Treasury’s Health and Wellbeing Program and manual handling training is also provided to relevant staff.
- Employees requiring glasses for screenbased use can be reimbursed for a portion of the cost; 28 employees sought reimbursement in 2009-10.
- Influenza vaccinations paid by the Treasury are offered annually; 355 employees received these in March 2010.
- In cooperation with the Department of Finance and Deregulation, a 10 metre smoking exclusion zone is in place around the Treasury building.